Aranda Way (Bach in Central Australia)

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Australian culture, Dramatizing the world's music, Music and film, Music articles, My blog, Strehlow, Words

In honour of the Central Australian Aboriginal Women’s Choir’s forthcoming concerts in Washington, and in honour of their recent film, The Song Keepers,  I re-publish this 2003 article about the premiere of Journey to Horseshoe Bend, which featured one of their predecessor organizations, the Ntaria Ladies Choir. (Please be advised that this article may contain […]

Just a Fad? – Film screenings with live orchestra

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  Have film screenings with live orchestra really been around so long?  Jon Burlingame writing in Variety in 2013[1], cites a 1987 live screening of Eisenstein and Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky by the Los Angeles Philharmonic as the ‘light bulb’ moment when Steven Linder of IMG Artists realized these could be a thing. Thirty years! Is […]

Beautiful…sad: Puccini’s La bohème

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Loretta: That was so awful. Ronny: Awful? Loretta: Beautiful… sad. She died! John Patrick Shanley Moonstruck (dir. Norman Jewison, 1987) In the 1987 film, Moonstruck, Ronny Cammareri (Nicholas Cage) woos Loretta Castorini (Cher) by taking her to La bohème at ‘the Met’. In the Third Act, as the two principals on stage touch hands through […]

Squeezed full of life – Prokofiev’s ‘ceaseless chain of contrasted incidents’

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In Act III of Prokofiev’s Love for Three Oranges, the Prince has found his true-love, the last of three fantastic oranges, Princess Ninetta, and saved her with a refreshing drink. ‘At last, a real fairytale with tunes that we can hum’ sing the commentators, the ‘Lyrics’, in Tom Stoppard’s translation of Prokofiev’s libretto. Except that […]

Parsifal’s Act Two

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Richard Wagner (1813-1883) Parsifal, Act II: Prelude… ‘Parsifal! – Weile!’… (Parsifal, stay!) Parsifal, first performed in 1882, was Wagner’s last opera, or music drama, as he called his stage works. There is evidence to suggest he knew it would be his last statement on themes that had obsessed him throughout his life – the conflicts […]

To the future which might sustain the (orchestral) past

Posted on 1 CommentPosted in American culture, Music and film, Music articles, My blog, Program notes

Writer Bob Gale was visiting his family home in Missouri. In the basement he found an old High School Yearbook photo of his father. The discovery set Gale wondering: would he and his father have been friends if they’d gone to school together? With that, Gale came up with the idea of a teenager travelling […]

“…profound score…convoluted plot” – Verdi’s “Simon Boccanegra”

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Music articles, My blog, Opera articles, Program notes, The power of the libretto

Simon Boccanegra contains some of Verdi’s finest music from any period of his career. It’s undoubtedly a masterpiece. But it has problems – ‘…profound score but convoluted plot’, said Anthony Tommasini in an April 2016 New York Times review of a production at the Met. We can’t ignore those problems really; a theatre audience is […]

Raiders of the Lost Ark – The Return of the Great Adventure

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in American culture, Dramatizing the world's music, Music articles, My blog, Program notes

In 1981, when Raiders of the Lost Ark came out, I remember the American personnel of the military base near Alice Springs where I then lived, raving about this new film – ‘just when things can’t get any stickier for the hero, they [the film-makers] make things worse. It’s like those serials we used to […]

Letter from LA

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Letter from LA Some things I have discovered since the last time I posted: In the same period that I began reading Kevin Starr’s series of Californian histories and continued my usual round of musical and other activities, I also finally visited Yosemite and the gold country and other Californian sights. As Kate and I, […]

Cinemusica

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Iannis Xenakis (1922-2001) Voile (1995) Psappha (1975)   Thomas Newman (born 1955) arr. Cyrus Meurant American Beauty: Suite Angela Undress Dead Already American Beauty   Bernard Herrmann (1911-1975) Psycho – A Narrative for String Orchestra (restored and edited John Mauceri)   Timothy Constable (born) Cinemusica – two movements for percussion and strings (2016) for Bree […]